The man who fatally shot his friend in late January after a day of hanging out and drinking has had his murder charges dropped, court records show.

Tony Jones, 58, now faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter, a far less serious charge than first- or second-degree murder. The downgraded charges weren’t unexpected — witnesses and Jones described the shooting as an accident and an assistant state’s attorney said in court in February it was likely the charges would be reduced.

Jones was inside the office at his auto repair shop in Northwest Baltimore, talking with some friends on Jan. 24, and Jones wanted to show off his new revolver, court records show. The 58-year-old, standing across from the couch where Delroy Plummer was seated, removed the firearm from his ankle holster but the gun went off in the process, with a bullet striking Plummer in the chest.

Plummer, 68, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to court records.

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Originally, Jones was charged with first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence and requires prosecutors prove he intended to kill Plummer. Involuntary manslaughter, the most serious charge Jones faces now, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

District Court Judge Carol Johnson acknowledged the case was likely to be downgraded, but ordered him held without bail in early February, reasoning that the murder charge was too serious to merit release.

“This looks like something that, in my experience, may not remain,” Johnson said Feb. 6.

Jones has since been released from custody, with online court records showing he posted bail Sunday. An attorney who represented Jones at his first bail review, Gil Amaral, did not return a request for comment Thursday morning.

Court records show Jones was in lawful possession of his gun, with a Maryland concealed carry permit and additional training on his record.

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Unlike murder charges, or even regular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter only requires prosecutors prove someone acted with gross negligence and that there was a reasonable expectation their actions could cause serious injury or death, according to the jury instructions for the case.

This story may be updated.

Lee O. Sanderlin is an Enterprise Reporter for The Baltimore Banner. Before joining The Banner, he worked at The Baltimore Sun as a reporter covering a wide array of topics, including stories about abusive politicians, sexual abuse, gun violence and legislative issues.

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